If you follow our blog, you know that I’ve written in the past about the different types of contracts offered by continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, or life plan communities). But understanding contract types conceptually and actually knowing what you are looking at when you read over a particular CCRC’s pricing sheet are two very different things.
A large source of the potential confusion is the fact that there is no consistent, industry-wide standard for how to show pricing. This isn’t surprising since, unfortunately, there isn’t a uniform protocol for much of anything in the CCRC industry! This can make it exceedingly difficult for the consumer (potential CCRC residents) to do an apples-to-apples comparison between two communities’ contracts and pricing.
>> Related: A Primer on CCRC Residency Contracts
3 communities, 3 different pricing sheets
Recently, I decided to randomly pull the pricing information for three different CCRCs. Below you will find an overview of how the pricing information is reported (and the differing formats that communities use for their pricing), in order to help you more effectively research and compare your CCRC options.
Community 1: Different pricing grid for each contract type
In this first example, as shown below, it’s easy enough to see exactly what the entry fee and monthly fee will be, based on single or double occupancy, for any of the given floorplans.
|Name of Floorplan||Single Occ. Monthly Fee||Double Occ. Monthly Fee||Single Occ.
Keep in mind that if the pricing is for a fee-for-service contract (also called a Type C contract), then the rates for assisted living, memory care, and/or healthcare will be provided on a separate page. In fact, even in the case of an all-inclusive lifecare contract (also called a Type A contract), there may be a separate page listing out potential ancillary charges.
Also, if the community offers a choice of residency contracts, each offering a different level of entry fee refundability, then there will be a separate sheet just like the one above for each of the different contracts.
>> Related Video: CCRC Contact Types
Community 2: All contracts included in one grid
In this example, there isn’t a need for a separate pricing page for each type of contract.
|Name of Floorplan||Entry Fee for Traditional Contract||Entry Fee for 50% Return of Capital Contract||Entry Fee for 90% Return of Capital Contract||Monthly Service Fee|
Since this pricing grid does not account for single occupancy versus double occupancy, as shown in the example for Community 1 above, there will be a footnote somewhere below the pricing showing the additional amount to add in the event of double occupancy.
Occasionally, you may find that instead of offering different entry fees for each of the refundable contracts, the entry fees stay the same and the monthly service fees are different for each one.
Again, if the pricing is for a fee-for-service/Type C contract, then there will be a separate pricing page detailing the cost for care services.
Community 3: Entry fees, monthly fees, and second-resident fees all shown separately
This last example of common pricing page formats breaks the different pieces out separately, so you’ll have to look at two different grids.
|Name of Floorplan||Entry Fee for Traditional Contract||Entry Fee for 50% Return of Capital Contract||Entry fee for 90% Return of Capital Contract|
In all likelihood, there will be a footnote describing the additional entry fee applicable for a second resident (also known as double occupancy).
There will then be a second pricing grid for the monthly service fees, which may look like this:
|Name of Floorplan||Single Occ. Monthly Fee||Double Occ. Monthly Fee|
The three pricing page examples that I’ve covered above speak only to the entry fee and the base monthly service fee. There may be additional or optional costs that you’ll also want to consider, and these will be listed separately from the main pricing sheets.
Most CCRCs will provide a sheet that outlines all amenities and services covered under the monthly service fee and also will furnish a list of other amenities and services that can be utilized for an additional cost. This may include things like garages (where applicable), additional meals, barber/beauty shop services, extra housekeeping, home health care, and more.
It’s important to note that some CCRCs include much more in their base monthly fee than others, so it is vital to know what’s included when comparing options.
The numbers game
Choosing to move to a CCRC is a big financial decision, so you want to be sure that you are as informed as possible about what you are getting for your money. By understanding the various ways that CCRCs present their pricing information in their sales materials and contracts, you can feel more confident that you are making the best decision for your personal financial situation.
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